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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395299

Research Project: Improving Soil and Water Productivity and Quality in Irrigated Cropping Systems

Location: Water Management Research

Title: Can Hg content in crops be controlled by Se fertilization? A meta-analysis and outline of Hg sequestration mechanisms

item CHEN, JIEFEI - Southwest University
item Banuelos, Gary
item SHANGYAN, HAO - Southwest University
item ZHOU, XINBIN - Southwest University

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/27/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Mercury (Hg) is a heavy metal pollutant that is toxic to the human body. As one of the top ten chemicals of global concern listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it enters the agricultural soil through human activities such as smelting, metal mining, coal burning, pesticides, fertilizers, sludge application, sewage irrigation, and the plant food chain. Our hypothesis is that selenium ( Se) has a high affinity for Hg in solution, and studies have shown that Se can form inert HgSe complexes with Hg in soil and plants, thereby reducing the bioavailability of Hg. There has, however, been no consensus has been reached on selenium ‘s effect on Hg accumulation in plants, especially in rice. In this review paper, 947 sets of data from 29 literatures were analyzed by meta-analysis, and the effects of exogenous Se on Hg accumulation in plants, including rice, were studied from three aspects: Se properties, Se/Hg properties, and Hg properties. The results showed that exogenous Se applied as selenate or selenite, reduced Hg accumulation in most plants. In rice, exogenous Se significantly inhibits the absorption and transport of Hg from roots to shoots, and thereby significantly reduces the Hg content in grains. The main mechanism of Se reducing Hg accumulation in rice may be the reduction of the following: bioavailable Hg in soil, absorption of Hg by roots, and the transport of Hg from root to shoots. In summary, this paper shows that meta-analyses of the literature on Hg and Se reports that Se reduces Hg accumulation in plants and food crops like rice, and thereby improves food safety for human health. In addition, the application of Se fertilizer to plants can not only increase the Se content in plants and Se intake in humans.